Gabriella Mayne, MA

Gabriella Mayne
Graduate Student • Fall 2022 Cohort
Health and Behavioral Sciences

As a woman and mother pursuing my doctorate in Health and Behavioral Sciences, my goal is to perform research that has tangible, positive, real-world impacts – I am personally and professionally invested in the equitable advancement of respectful, patient-centered care to improve birth outcomes.

My research focuses on the neuroactive steroid allopregnanolone, cortisol and related steroid hormones, and their relationship with maternal stress and gestational length – specifically preterm birth (<37 weeks’ gestation). Using a novel assay developed as part of my master’s thesis, I am investigating these compounds as objective stress biomarkers, which may be useful alone or in conjunction with self-reported stress and mood data. My goal is to expand the diagnostic toolbox – enhancing practitioners’ ability to identify and mitigate maternal stress resulting in improved maternal/fetal outcomes. Additionally, I am interested in the plasticity available in the index pregnancy through the highly conserved maternal-fetal-placental unit and how this plasticity allows us to reconceptualize stress in pregnancy.

These varying perspectives allow me to triangulate my research concerning maternal stress and preterm birth within three distinct – yet overlapping – frames: 1) a clinical/translational focus on biomarker identification, 2) an evolutionary and developmental biology focus on the highly conserved biological mechanisms that modulate both stress and the timing of birth, and 3) a reproductive justice perspective that arises out of a pressing need to acknowledge the social patterning of maternal stress and preterm birth and to name racism, not race, as an urgent medical risk factor.

MA, 2021, University of Colorado, Denver (Biological Anthropology)

BA, 2007, University of Colorado, Boulder (Cultural Anthropology)

Editor’s Pick for October 2023. Obstetrics & Gynecology. “Why Causation Matters: Rethinking “Race” as a Risk Factor.”

Best New Investigator Poster Presentation Award, "Reducing Preterm Birth and Racial Disparities:  A Model of Stress-Induced Developmental Plasticity," Society for Reproductive Investigation, March 2022.

CLAS Outstanding Graduate Student Award, Fall 2021

Department of Neurology Poster Award, "Neurosteroids and Steroid Hormones in Preterm Birth," 36th Annual Student Research Forum, Anschutz Medical Campus, December 2021. 

3-Minute Thesis 2020-2022 Presentation and Awards:Birth: What’s Love Got To Do With It?

  • National 3MT Showcase, Council for Graduate Schools, Invited Presenter, February 2022
  • 1st Place Winner, CU Denver/Anschutz Intercampus Competition, February 2021
  • 1st Place Winner, Preliminary Round, Western Assoc. of Graduate Schools (WAGS)
  • 2nd Place Winner, Final Round, WAGS, March 2021
  • 2nd Place Winner, Colorado State-Wide Competition, April 2021
  • 2nd Place Winner, CU Denver, December 2020

CU Denver Chancellor's Fellowship Award for Merit, January 2019